Negotiating Tip #36:
Why Do We Find It So Hard to Push For a Good Deal?
Deeply built into the psyche of most of us is that we want to get along with others; we want to connect with people. The traits we need to do that include sincerity, empathy, agreeableness, friendliness, and cooperation. When we get into a social interaction, these kick in pretty much automatically.
Now let’s review the tactics needed to haggle better: making a lowball initial offer, flinching at whatever the other side says, being stingy, never conceding first, never splitting evenly the differences between the two sides, and walking out in order to attract a better offer.
Those two sets of traits do not exactly match up. In fact, they are pretty much the exact opposite. That is why we at Mobus Creative Negotiating say that our usual mental model is not really aligned with what it takes to haggle successfully. In other words, haggling is an unnatural act. No one should feel inadequate if they find haggling uncomfortable. Many of us come from cultures which discourage haggling, and that only compounds the problem.
Mobus Creative Negotiating does not shy away from this problem; we do not suggest that by just hearing about a set of haggling tactics, people will automatically adopt these techniques and become better negotiators. Instead, we spend a lot of time discussing ways to confront the natural reluctance that so many people have towards haggling.
The basic rule is getting people to accept that what constitutes appropriate behavior in a business setting is entirely different from what is appropriate behavior in a social setting.